Andy Stone: A Stone’s Throw | AspenTimes.com

Andy Stone: A Stone’s Throw

Andy Stone
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

I was going to write an outraged column about President Obama’s televised speech to the school kids of our great nation.

My outrage, of course, would have been on behalf of the kids themselves, who would risk death by boredom. Not that Obama isn’t a great public speaker, just that … well, come on, we’re talking about school kids.

I remember (dimly, I admit) my own school days.

Speech from the president? To heck with that noise! The last thing in the world I wanted was one more darn adult telling me to work hard. I already had my parents and my teachers badgering me. Now they’re dragging in the president to tell me to do my homework?

No disrespect to the president, of course. Back when I was in school, he was some guy named Dwight Something (a long name, foreign sounding). (And, kids, don’t worry that you’ve never heard of him. We’re talking ancient history, way back in the days when a president could say things like “Beware the military-industrial complex.” These days that’d get him labeled as a dirty socialist – or even a Nazi. Back then, of course, people actually knew what Nazis were, so no one would think of accusing the president of the U.S. of being one. Particularly when the president, in that case, was a war hero. And, kids, don’t worry if you don’t know what the term “war hero” means – like I said, we’re talking ancient history.)

Anyway, as I was saying, no disrespect to the president – but if my mother couldn’t persuade me to do my homework, if my father couldn’t persuade me, if my football coach couldn’t persuade me (OK, my football coach didn’t really care whether I did my homework. He didn’t really even care if I could read and write. Knocking people down was all he was interested in) … was the president really going to make any difference?

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What was he going to do? Send in the FBI to browbeat me? Send in the army? He was too busy sending troops to Korea to send anyone to my school to make me study.

So I was thinking about that when I sat down at the keyboard this morning.

I was also thinking about the fact that public schools are, themselves, tools of socialist – nay, communist revolution.

You doubt me? I call your attention to the Communist Manifesto itself. The founding document of communism has 10 “conditions for transition to communism.” These are essentially the “planks” of the communist platform – and number 10 is “Free education for all children in public schools.”

So there you go! Public schools are a tool of the communist conspiracy. And that’s why this Obama guy is telling kids to stay in school – to complete their indoctrination.

But, as I said, the kids are too busy picking their noses (elementary school), popping their zits (middle school), or figuring out who they can have sex with (high school) to pay any attention.

That’s the column I was going to write.

But then I read Tuesday’s Aspen Times, in which the city parking department was saying how they were pleased as punch at all the money flowing into the city’s coffers from the new residential-neighborhood paid parking.

And by the time I was done screaming in rage, I couldn’t think of anything to write about but how those miserable swine have gone and proved me absolutely correct in every nasty thing I said about them!

So, to begin with, my humble thanks to the parking department for proving me absolutely correct.

I was correct (in case you missed last week’s column – in which case, shame on you!) when I said that the program that now allows all-day parking in residential neighborhoods for a “mere” $7 a day proves that the city has abandoned all pretense that paid parking has anything to do with environmental concerns.

Or, to say it with far fewer words: They’re just in it for the money.

They are proud that they have collected more than $120,000 from people parking in residential neighborhoods. They are pleased that they have collected another $112,000 from parking tickets. They’re on track to keep their promise of more than $500,000 in new money. Hurray!

Oh bureaucratic nirvana! Raking it in with both hands.

At the same time, they expressed apparent regret that, despite that new money, parking department revenues are still down for the year.

Oh dear! So sad. Revenues down. But … but the whole point of paid parking was to discourage people from driving into town (for environmental reasons, of course). So when revenues decline, that’s a good thing!

They should be bragging that income is down! Not crowing how they’ve found new sources of cash to offset some of the loss.

But what really, really made me scream – scream until my throat was raw and tiny speckles of blood were dotting my computer screen – was the smug statement that they are “confident [that] our offseason will be as good or above last year.”

Arrrgh!

Does anyone remember when offseason was a time to relax? A time when Aspen treated Aspenites like human beings? A time when traffic was down and the streets were more nearly empty? A time when parking enforcement was cut back?

Now it’s just an opportunity to tighten the screws and make up for lost revenue!

Now that’s something the president could tackle. Come on, Obama. Prove you’re not a Nazi. Come out against paid parking.

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